Top Bird Watching Binoculars
If you think any binocular can do the task of Bird Watching. Then the answer is Big No!! Observing birds in a wide area like at the coast or near the lake from a long distance is totally different from observing the birds in the dense and thick forest. We need a different set of binoculars for a different purpose like hunting, sports activities, bird watching etc. Don’t worry in the following guide we are going to focus on best all round bird watching binoculars that can perform well in different condition.
While searching for good binoculars we encounter lots of different terms like exit pupil, eye relief, magnification, objective lens size, etc. First, let’s discuss all of these different terms one by one because these terms play an important factor in choosing right Binoculars for Bird Watching.
Binoculars are often represented as 8×40, 7×35, and 10×50 following by the brand name (example- ABC 8×40). Here, the first number is magnification or the amount of time the object will look closer to our eye.
8×40 means the magnification will be 8x, same way 10×50 will result in 10x magnification. For example- If you have 8 power binocular and the bird/object is at the distance of 800ft then the bird will appear to be at 100ft with that binocular.
Drawbacks of Higher Magnification
You must be thinking why not go for the highest magnification available? The answer is big NO. There is a number of drawbacks to high powered binoculars. Keep in mind magnification is inversely proportional to the Field of view (FOV) that means at higher magnification, you get a narrower field of view which is not ideal for bird watching. A Bird moves fast in the air so we need a binocular with a larger field of view (FOV) to spot them. We don’t want to complicate the things, we want that if the bird is on the tree we just have to put binoculars to our eye and see it. It is only possible with binoculars having a wider Field of View (FOV).
- At higher magnification depth is not focused.
- You are not going to get a bright image at higher magnification. While comparing a 7×40 Binocular with 10×40 you will notice that the brightness of image decreases with higher magnification.
- It is difficult to hold binocular steady at higher magnification, any small movement of the hand gets highly exaggerated.
Ideal magnification for Bird watching binoculars would be 8x or 10x. They give a wide field of view (most important), a good magnification and stable, brighter image (depend on the objective lens size more on that in next point). Observing both the fast moving bird such as Hummingbirds, Falcon as well as slow moving birds like waterfowl is possible with this magnification. Whether you are observing near the coast or lake or you are observing from the distance opt for 8x to 10x binoculars.
Objective lens diameter
In the same example mentioned above (ABC 8×40) the second number written after the magnification is the diameter of the Objective lens (in mm). For example, 8×40 binoculars have 40mm size of the objective lens or 7×35 has 35mm objective lens diameter. The objective lens is the area where light enter into the tube. Higher the amount of light enters into binoculars brighter and sharper image would be.
Drawbacks of bigger objective lens.
The bigger objective lens will lead to heavier and bulkier binoculars. Everybody wants a little compact but powerful binocular. Nobody wants to carry a heavier binoculars around their neck whole day.
The cost of the binoculars will also increase tremendously with the bigger objective lens.
Ideal Lens size
The most popular lens size choice by any bird watcher is 40 to 42mm. A lot of binocular with small size from 20mm to 30mm are easier to carry and lighter in weight. They are compact, portable and good for traveling. However, due to their smaller objective lens size they gather small amount of light inside the device compare to bigger lens size makes it difficult for its user to see anything in low light condition. In suggest, perfect & ideal objective lens size which mostly every bird watcher prefer is 40mm to 42mm. They are not very expensive, they are also lightweight and also provide its user high-quality viewing experience.
Exit pupil is the diameter (mm) of the image form on the eyepiece of the binoculars. Exit pupil is determined by dividing objective lens size with magnification. So 8x4o binoculars would have an exit pupil 40/8=5mm same way 7×42 would have 6mm exit pupil. In a dim light, our eyes dilate about 4mm to maximum 7mm.
Bigger the diameter of exit pupil better you will see in dim light. If you do bird watching mostly in dense forest or in dim light (owling) go for minimum 5mm exit pupil. During brighter condition where light is sufficient don’t worry about exit pupil.
Close focus is the shortest distance at which binoculars are able to focus. Especially depends upon a birder to decide. If he is going to use a binocular to observe a bird from 15ft away or want a closer view of butterflies. Then the close focus is an important aspect to consider. Good bird watching binoculars should have an ideal close focus of at least 10ft to 15ft.
Other Important Terms
a. Waterproof /fog proof
You might encounter different condition during your bird watching session sometimes from heavy rain to little shower other time bright sunshine. This means you should opt for binoculars that are waterproof and also fog proof. Prefer completely sealed o-ring binoculars they prevent any amount of dust or water to enter into the tube. Also look for argon or nitrogen purged binoculars they help to prevent fogging inside the binocular tube which mainly occurs due to sudden change in temperature.
b. Anti-reflective coating
Objective lens reflects some lights entering into the tube. To prevent these binoculars come with different types of coating these days. Remember the higher the price of binoculars better the coating you will get.
Coated (C): A single layer on at least one lens.
Fully-Coated (FC): A single layer on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Multi-Coated (MC): Multiple layers on at least one lens.
Fully Multi-Coated (FMC): Multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces.
High-quality anti-reflection coatings always outperform binoculars with much larger objective lenses with a fewer or no coatings. Always look for Fully multi-coated (FMC) binoculars if your budget allows.
c. Eye relief
If you are an eyeglass wearer. Always look for the binoculars with minimum eye relief of 15mm. Eye relief is the fixed distance from exit eyepiece of your device to your eye. When your eye is the correct distance from eyepiece lens, the field stop will appear sharp and it will help you to see the entire field of view the binocular offers without any obstruction, all necessary light rays coming through eyepiece enter into your pupil. This is sufficient eye relief.
Overall, those were the point you should always keep in your mind before buying any bird watching binocular.
#important 1-Never buy a cheap binocular from an unknown dealer. I can say that from my personal experience. On paper specification wise they might be good but in reality, they are just a piece of garbage. Always go for well-known brands who are in this market and known for its quality and service even if you have to pay the little extra price. Remember, even a high-quality 32mm lens will give better image quality than cheap quality 50 mm lens.
#important 2– Binoculars listed below are top rated binoculars after consistently getting good ratings from bird watchers around the world. We reviewed these binoculars based on their performance and other factors such as image clarity, Weight, Field of View, Close focus, Overall quality, Price.
Best Birding Binoculars (under $200)
1. WINGSPAN OPTICS WIDEVIEW BINOCULARS
- SPECIALLY DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR BIRD WATCHING: These...
- EXTRA-WIDE FIELD OF VIEW - IMAGINE VIEWING AN ENTIRE FLOCK,...
- SHARP HD OPTICAL QUALITY - Phase-correction coated prisms...
This 8×42 binocular from Wingspan is really in high demand because of its extra wide field of view that is 430ft /1000yds. Laser 8x close focus with sharp quality optics provides HD images. The exit pupil of 5.25mm really helps the binocular to use birders even in the low light condition. Fully-multi coated lens with phase-correction high end prism produces the brighter and sharper image. This binocular is getting 4 stars consistently from thousands of its verified customer on Amazon. Overall nice rugged and durable binocular with lifetime warranty support from Wingspan.
2. CELESTRON 71332 NATURE DX BINOCULAR
- Perfect binoculars for every adventure: A great match for...
- Top-rated glass optics with impressive specs: Fully...
- Robust, waterproof mid-sized body: Incredibly precise build...
The Celestron Nature DX Roof Prism Binocular – 8x42mm 71332 have been designed to enhance all of your outdoor activities. This Binocular is from the brand name Celestron who are known for its quality optics. You’ll get all the important features like fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms while staying within your budget. Polycarbonate frame makes this binocular compact and lightweight without increasing its weight more than 650g. this binocular also provides a unique 6.5’ft close focus to give the detailed and up close observation of the species near us like a butterfly, insects plants etc. Thanks to its fully waterproof housing that is purged of air and filled with dry nitrogen gas this binocular can withstand any harsh condition.
3. VORTEX OPTICS CROSSFIRE ROOF PRISM BINOCULARS
The Vortex optics crossfire roof prism binoculars is a performance driven, high-quality 10x42pair; perfect for general use, while the 42mm lenses capture more than enough light to enjoy the moon at night or star gaze.
The Crossfire binocular is the ultimate all-around choice any outdoor enthusiast will appreciate, as they come in lightweight ergonomic designs easy to carry and easy to pack.
The Crossfire binocular is the Customers choice for bird watching, hunting, nature viewing, photography, the safari; and this pretty stabilized beauty is also awesome for hiking, and other outdoor events.
Its fully multi-coated lenses provide outstanding performance in low light; ensuring bright views and the sharpness of its images will make you fall in love with binoculars all over again.
The vortex optics Crossfire Roof Prism binoculars rubberized covering with clean, sleek styling provides a durable non-slip grip and can take bumps and knocks in its stride.
If you are an all-weather nature enthusiast, this Crossfire got you covered with nitrogen purging to prevent fogging while withholding extreme temperatures and waterproof barrels-you can be assured rain and any form of water are staying out.
The 10×42 Vortex Optics Crossfire binoculars come with amazing1 5mm eye-relief, 4.3mmexitpupil, twist-up eyecups for quick adjustment, smooth center focus wheel for precise focusing and right eye diopter that gives you awesome functionality and maximize every hour you spend in the field.
The vortex optics crossfire roof prism binoculars are designed for people with different eyesight either with or without the glasses.
What you really get is excellent optical quality at a groundbreaking price range as well as the 100yd linear wide field of view and enhanced depth of field that helps you quickly find what you are looking for when scanning your environment.
This high quality, eyeglass friendly binoculars is a perfect birthday present, good luck present and also fit for any other event. We all love to see life in clearer and better pictures, any day, anytime.
4) BUSHNELL LEGEND ULTRA HD ROOF PRISM BINOCULAR
- Rain guard HD water repellent lens coating
- Lightweight, magnesium chassis
- Waterproof and fog proof
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular is among the best birding binoculars you can get at the middle range price. Its amazing features provide you with all you could ever want in a hunting binocular.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binocular is made with an ED Prime glass that gives you the ultimate high definition viewing experience. The 10 x 42 dimension of the binocular provides you with a wider view and a clearer image.
Features of Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular
- 10 x 42 viewing
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular has a 10 x 42 dimension, which is a term that is used to describe the magnification of the binocular and the size of the objective lens. The “10” simply means you’ll be seeing an object at ten times its actual size.
The “42” refers to the size of the circumference in millimeter (mm) of the objective lens. The objective lens is the lens that is larger than the one put next to your eye for viewing. A 42mm circumference of the objective lens allows lots of light into the binocular, which produces a better clear image.
- Waterproof and fog proof
A little rain shouldn’t keep you indoor unless you want to be. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular with its magnesium chassis is waterproof and fog proof. Whether it’s raining or not, you are at liberty to set out confidently with your binocular.
It is also important to for a binocular to be fog proof because when the inner lens is fogged up it destroys the viewing experience. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binocular does not fog up, even if you make use of it in nasty weather conditions.
- ED Prime Glass
ED Prime glass which is also known as Extra-low Dispersion fluorite glass is designed to produce a clear image in low light condition. The glass gives an amazing contrast and color resolution by eliminating chromatic aberration and color-fringing.
- Lifetime Warranty
This product comes with a lifetime warranty that covers any defect in workmanship, materials or accidental damage. For up to a year after purchase, you can return it for a full refund, if the product does not your expectation.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular features at a glance
- Realtree AP, ED Prime Glass and Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
- 10x magnification, Ultra Wide Band Coating, and 42mm objective lens binoculars
- RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating, Lightweight, and magnesium chassis
- Ultra-wide field of view (FOV)
- Waterproof, Long eye-relief, and Fogproof
- Soft touch grips, which Includes soft carry case and microfiber carry bag and neck strap
- Locking diopter
- Beautifully design, Top quality materials and very durable
- The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism Binocular has been used and tested extensively
5. VANGUARD ENDEAVOR ED 1042 Binocular
The Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10×42 mm Binoculars are the best option for anyone from the weekend adventurer to the full time bird watcher, these lightweight(770g) Binoculars from Vanguard provide bright edge-to-edge clarity and true life color to show your surroundings in all their brilliance. The vanguard endeavor Features a top of the line Japanese extra-low dispersion glass(ED) that offers excellent light transmission and color fidelity so your view is best in all-weather types. The Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10×42 mm Lightweight Binoculars offers twist-up eyepiece levels ideal for eyeglass wearer to provide a truly universal experience. Precise Center focus wheel helps to focus both tubes of binoculars at the same time on the object.
6. NIKON 7548 MONARCH 7 Binocular
The exit pupil of 5.25mm allows Nikon Monarch binocular to handle low light conditions with ease. Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Binoculars feature high tech ED (extra-low dispersion) glass with fully multicoated Eco-Glass lenses that will deliver images that are extremely lifelike in color and detail. The Nikon 8×42 Monarch 5 Binocular also features turn-and-slide rubber eyecups and long eye relief for comfortable use, even when used all day. Nikon Monarch 5 are lightweight (590g) Nitrogen filled and O-Ring sealed for complete waterproof and fog proof performance.
Monarch 5 8×42 Shock-resistant Binoculars designed for performance and features such as the smooth-turning central focus knob extremely simple and intuitive design to bringing objects into focus with ease. Eye relief of 19.5mm is perfect for any eyeglass wearer to provide a nice and relaxing session to a bird watcher. Almost a full ounce lighter than other of its competitor reviewed on this page. Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Bird watching Binoculars are built to sustain any harsh environment. With its rubber-armored grip, they are easier to carry with you on your next outing.
7. VORTEX OPTICS DIAMONDBACK ROOF PRISM BINOCULAR
- Roof prism full-size 10x42 binoculars provide 10x...
- VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty means Vortex Optics will...
- Multi-coated optics and phase corrected prisms
Apart from the location you choose to go hiking, bird-watching or wildlife viewing, the next most important thing is your gadget – Binoculars. You will agree with me that a lot depends on the quality of binoculars you choose for your hobby. Therefore, it is safe to that your binoculars have the capacity to make or mar your trip.
Unlike decades ago, today you have so many binocular options to pick from. Whether your criteria are price or quality, there is one that fits. Let me unveil a binocular that qualifies at both levels (price and quality), the Vortex Optics Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars.
The Diamondback Roof Prism Binocular
This masterpiece is a high-performance product of Vortex optics that is of superior quality, at an affordable price. It detects low light very well, it is water and fog proof and has multi-coated optics. The big plus is the LIFETIME WARRANTY.
- Lens: 10x magnification and 50mm objective lenses, these Diamondback binoculars are the workhorses of Vortex line up; known for impressive optical durability and quality.
- Roof prism: This is valued for its compact size and durability, which is way better than other options.
- Phase correction: This coating on roof prism models enhances its resolution and contrast.
- Waterproof: The O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating the binoculars. This feature makes it reliable in every environment.
- Fog proof: Argon 3purging and rubber armor provide enhanced waterproof and fog proof performance in extreme weather conditions.
- Rubber Armour: This provides a secure non-slip grip and a durable external protection for the binocular during use in any kind of environment.
- Diopter: This located on the right eyepiece; it adjusts for differences in a user’s eyes.
- Tripod Adaptable: These binoculars are compatible with a tripod adapter, allowing for use on a tripod mount or car window mount.
- Center Focus Wheel: This is sleek; it adjusts the focus of both binocular barrels at the same time.
- It has a short hinge design with thumb indents and rubber armor, creating a secure, easier, and non-slip grip.
Sizes – The Diamondback Roof Prism Binocular comes in 8 sizes – 8 x 28, 8 x 32, 8 x 42, 10 x 28, 10 x 32, 10 x 42, 10 x 50 and 12 x 50. This provides you so many options. You get to choose the size that suits your needs.
Price – The price of these binoculars vary with size. Prices range from $ 139 to $256.95.
- Impressive bright and clear vision.
- Very refined focus produces a very rich image.
- It works well in low light and even in the dark.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
- Neck strap, that allows for easy carrying as you move around.
- Carrying case, it is fitted with a zipper and strap.
- Flip down front lens covers.
- Adjustable eyecups for glass and naked eye viewing.
- Water and fog proof.
- Good quality.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Chromatic aberrations.
- The outside edge of the field of view gets blurry.
8. ATHLON OPTICS, MIDAS, BINOCULARS 8X42 ED ROOF
- ED Glass - ED glass gives you an image with little or no...
- ESP Dielectric Coating is a multi layer prism coating that...
- Advanced FMC - Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you...
Binoculars are hobby gadgets that we like to pick with care. Whether it’s for bird-watching, hiking, wildlife viewing, astronomy or anything else, we want it to be great, in the sense of giving us a beautiful experience with little hitches.
Let’s look at a binocular that is excellent for everyone and every purpose.
THE ATHLON MIDAS 8 x 42ED
A product of Athlon optics comes with great optics, which gives amazing clarity. It produces wide field view. You can quickly find birds, hawks or even butterflies without so much fuss.
So many users have called it PHENOMENAL. In fact, we were so impressed that we had to feature this also in our “best binoculars for the money” list What makes it great?
First, it is very affordable at $230.30, considering its capacity. With a dimension of 7.1 x 9.8 x 2.9 inch, it weighs only 1.56lbs.
Second, it has…
- ED Glass – The ED glass gives you an image with little or no chromatic fringe, so the final result brings a clearer and sharper image to your eyes.
- ESP Dielectric Coating – This is a multilayer prism coating that reflects over 99% of the light to your eyes bringing you a clear, bright image that displays accurate color reproduction.
- Advanced Fully Multi-Coated (FMC) –The Advanced FMC lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum.
- Argon Purged –The Argon purging gives you better waterproofing and thermal stability and Field of view Angular at 8.1 degrees.
- Phase corrected prisms – This produces images that have better contrast, a higher resolution, and better color reproduction.
- Lightweight Magnesium chassis – This produces the strength of a metal chassis while reducing the weight of the binocular as much as 35%.
- XPL (Xtra Protective Layer) coating – The XPL coating gives you an extra protection on the exterior lenses from scratches.
- Phase-Corrected prisms –This produces images that have better contrast, higher resolution, and better color reproduction.
- BaK4 prisms –These prisms reflect more light to your eyes which will give you a brighter and sharper image.
- Long eye relief – This is particularly important for glass wearers because it allows them to still see the entire field view.
- Close focus – This is important for those who are nature observers, especially to observe butterflies and insects.
- Twist-up eyecups – These eye cups with intermediate stops allows you to set the eyecups to the perfect eye relief for your eyes
- Waterproof – This protects the binoculars in the harshest weather conditions or in case of accidental submersion in water.
All the features (listed above) are factors that make the Midas 8 x 42ED a beauty, but there is more.
- Adjustable and comfortable neck strap.
- The handles are easy to hold and manipulate.
- It delivers HD image.
- It comes with lens protectors and case.
- It comes with a standard tripod adapter.
- The adjustments are precise and smooth.
- The lens caps are quicker to remove and harder to lose than fully detachable ones.
- Apart from being waterproof, it is fog proof.
- It also comes with a carrying case that provides padded support.
I would be glad to say this binocular is perfect, but like everything that has ever been made. The Midas 8 x 42ED is not perfect. Though the only imperfection I have seen so far is the fact that it has no locking diopter.
Nevertheless, what is one flaw compared to the many amazing pros of the phenomenal binocular – Midas 8 x 42ED?
9. VORTEX OPTICS VIPER HD BINOCULAR
The Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars is some top-quality, all-purpose binoculars. A resilient, built to last, classy, lighted weight device. Easy to use due to how the vipers fit perfectly. More so, the binocular is one of the lightest to date. It comes with a High-Density extra-low dispersion glass for a remarkable resolution and color fidelity, giving a sharp magnifying result. Furthermore, it has an extra rain guard eyepiece cover, Comfort Neck Strap; tethered objective lens covers, elegantly padded carry case.
Vortex Optics Viper HD Roof Prism Binoculars has different sizes ranging from 8*42- 15*50 but our focus is on 10*50. The size 10*50 is 10*magnification and 50mm objective lenses. Also, the Vipers HD binoculars are premium and have a high-density optical system with enhanced anti-reflective lens coating for stunning image quality and top-tier light transmission.
A multi-layered print coated to provide bright, clear, color-accurate images. This model coating is done to intensify resolutions and contrast. Coupled with that, the binoculars have a compressed, rubber-unbreakable, sturdy coating that is suitable for hunting. Some inbuilt adjustable multi-positioned eyecups to maximize objects to fit view without glasses with a lock right diopter for adjust focal differences between the viewer’s eyes.
In addition, it comes with an unusual benefit. The O-ring sealed and argon-purged to be 100% waterproof to obviate internal fogging in the eyepiece; keeps the interior dust-and fungus-free; and makes it easier to clean, as there is no risk of excess cleaning solution getting trapped between the lenses.
The Viper HD roof prism binoculars are lighted weighed covers more field and light transmission and hand fitted. This equipment gives you good value for your money because of its great features although perfect for watching birds for a longer time. However, in low light, the binoculars are not great in brightening because as the magnification goes higher the focal plane gets shallow. So if you do not know how to handle the optics characteristics, you will be faced with this challenge.
The vortex optic viper roof prism binoculars are second to none, easy to use and unparalleled guarantee. Note that, the company offers a free repair when the binoculars become faulty under their awesome customer policy.
They promise to repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective—at no charge to you. If they cannot repair your product, they will replace it with a product in perfect working order of equal or better condition. The warranty covers; unlimited lifetime warranty, fully transferable, no warranty card to fill out, no receipt needed to hang on to.
Manufacturers’ warranties may not apply in all cases, depending on factors such as the use of the product, where the product was purchased, or who you purchased the product from. Please review the warranty carefully, and contact the manufacturer if you are faced with questions.
Note:- Furthermore, remember to always read manufacturers script on how to use this product effectively before setting out to the game, so you know what to do when you encounter a challenge while using the binoculars.
10. VANGUARD 10.5X45 ENDEAVOR ED BINOCULAR
- ED glass reduces color dispersion to provide high resolution...
- Bak4 phase-coated prisms and fully multi-coated lenses
- Three stage twist out eyecups with long eye relief and...
Quality is best defined with comfort and convenience, with the fast growing pace of technological advancement these days; there are always new innovations to look out for in gadgets. Technological innovations are always geared at making life better whether in the personal or professional context.
Binoculars serve a wide range of purposes in different professions, many experts depend on it to confirm their findings and complete particular projects, even on holidays and trips, and your gadget is never complete without a binocular.
Unlike any other binocular, the Endeavor ED is made with a premium ED glass which gives it a higher performance and helps to reduce light dispersion, hence giving high-resolution colors and clarity. This also makes it the best for an excellent viewing as users can view objects from a far distance as clear and close like never before.
With the help of the binocular’s O-ring sealed and nitrogen charged design, viewing is very convenient. The Endeavor’s fog proof and waterproof feature makes it easy to view objects closely even during the most challenging weather conditions. The anti-reflecting coating gives the binocular a large focusing wheel for convenient use.
Features of Endeavor ED
ED glass coating: Endeavor ED is made with an ED glass coating that helps to enhance color resolution and reduce color dispersion. When viewing, the different light wavelength have an effect on the quality of the view, however, the ED glass helps to refine the light wavelength and correct such problems.
100% waterproof and fog proof: the binocular can be used conveniently under any weather condition weather in the rain or in the snow. This is because of the nitrogen charge and O-ring Seal that comes with the binocular.
Lightweight: all the materials combine to make the ED endeavor are lightweight, making easy to carry and giving it a good ergonomic design.
Advanced lens coating: ED Endeavor has an AR coating that helps to reduce light reflection on the lens. Its multi-coated treatment gives it very impressive image recognition and light transmission hence brings about bright images all the time.
It also has a P2 phase coating that enables high-resolution observation. Aside from this, it also comes with an emerald coating, its green tones help to provide an amazing spectrum of color. This is specifically tailored to satisfy the needs of nature enthusiasts as it gives a great view.
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